Owen Hargreaves accepts that City's Champions League tie against his former club Bayern Munich will come too soon for a dream return to action.
The fit-again 30-year-old England midfielder checked in at Carrington to go through his paces today after the transfer deadline day signing that took the football world by surprise.
The Blues' first group away game in the Champions League will be in Munich on 27 September, but Hargreaves will take it one step at a time after a long spell on the sidelines with injuries.
He said: "It's important that you get back into a rhythm of playing football, and I haven't done that for a while. There's tons of games to come this season in various competitions.
"I've never not played in the Champions League, it's pretty much been standard for me every season.
"Bayern is a wonderful club - I had a great time there and won the Champions League. They are going to be tough opposition and it will be an exciting game for the club."
Hargreaves, signed in the wake of World Cup winner Patrick Vieira's retirement, is well aware of the competition he faces for a place in City's midfield this season.
He said: "I like to measure myself against the best and I've always taken on challenges - I left Canada for Germany as a kid, I've left comfortable situations.
"It's a fantastic group of players here, and I hope that I'll be a good addition to these guys to help out."
Having put himself through a tough summer of rehab as a free agent, he added: "I've lived in Manchester for four years and this move just fits. You've got to trust your instincts."